Saturday, May 27, 2017

A Hugo Review: Best Graphic Story - Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous

Ms. Marvel, Volume 5: Super Famous is about a young superhero coming to terms with all her responsibilities in life.

This, technically, has nothing to do with the quality of the work - Dear Marvel, big ugly watermarks are fine. Big ugly watermarks that are also dark enough to obscure the text I'm reading are much less fine, and in fact incredibly annoying. I get that you have to protect your property, but making it very difficult for people to read your award-nominated work makes it less likely that the work will win that award. The selections from Image also have a big ugly watermark, but it's light enough to read the text underneath. Follow Image's lead next time and make the watermark less dark. Big and ugly is fine, but at least let the Hugo readers READ the book. Gah.

Ok, I'll try to let that be the only complaint about the problem. I'll attempt to not judge the Marvel books more harshly due to this bit of stupidity. Seriously, just a little lighter and it wouldn't have been a problem but would still have served its purpose. Stupid watermarks.

The good: While this is the fifth volume devoted to this version of the character, it's also a collection of the first six issues of a new series, which makes it easier to read than if you were thrown into the middle of the story. And it's a pretty decent story, too, with an overall arc of Kamala trying to balance family, school and superheroing along with a couple of smaller arcs involving an evil development corporation and a 3-D printed clone gone very bad. All against the background of teenage love and angst. I really like the new character, Mike, although it wasn't clear to me if she figured out Kamala's secret while they worked together. I also enjoyed the various guest appearances by the Avengers, Loki and Captain Marvel.

The bad: I honestly am completely turned off by the art. It's got moments where I don't mind it so much, but overall I find it difficult to read because the art annoys me. I seriously couldn't figure out at first if the growing fists were a superpower or just a lousy drawing (superpower). I guess that's my biggest complaint, because otherwise it's a normal superhero book. And that's also a problem, because for it to deserve a Hugo Award, I'd want it to be an exceptional superhero book. This? Not bad at all, despite the art, but not something I'd place high on an award ballot. Sorry.

Conclusion: Fun story, but not something that will earn the top spot on the ballot.

Best Graphic Story: I've read Ms. Marvel. I need to read Black Panther, Monstress, Paper Girls, Saga, and The Vision.